By Paul Freelend
Alvin Mitchell’s attempt to single-handedly push the Maverick men’s basketball team past South Dakota fell short, but UNO rebounded to beat Morningside and split the weekend series.
Mitchell scored 24 points for UNO as the Mavericks fell to USD 82-77, while six UNO players scored in double digits in the Mavericks’ 101-67 romp over Morningside.
UNO’s defense held the Coyotes to 32 percent shooting in the first half and staked the Mavericks to a 39-31 half-time lead. USD, though, would storm back behind a 26-7 run to take a 63-54 lead with 9:40 left. UNO answered with a 13-2 run of their own, but an inability to hit free throws down the stretch spelled doom for the visitors.
Mitchell’s 24 points led UNO, while Adam Wetzel scored 14 points and pulled down 10 rebounds. Dan Morrow and Jared Andersen each added eight points for the Mavericks.
Morningside limped into their game against UNO in the midst of a 10-game losing streak, sporting a record of 3-17 and 0-12 in the North Central Conference. Maverick head coach Kevin McKenna used the opportunity to rest Mitchell and Corey Hahn, who had been struggling with the flu, starting Eric Wiebers and Dan Morrow in their place.
Wiebers responded with a 13-point, five-assist performance that included no turnovers, while Morrow scored 14 points, passed out four assists and had three steals. The result was rarely in doubt as the Mavericks raced out to a 54-21 half-time lead and held firm to their advantage in the second half.
Seth Nelson led UNO (18-6, 9-4 NCC) with 18 points, while Eddie King scored 14 points, James Mills had 13 points and three steals and Tola Dada had 11 points and seven rebounds.
UNO moved into second place in the conference with the combination of their split and St. Cloud State’s loss to South Dakota State. SDSU sits atop the NCC with a 12-1 conference record, while UNO is second at 9-4 and SCSU third at 8-4. The Mavericks will host SCSU, along with Minnesota-Mankato, this weekend at the Sapp Fieldhouse. UNO upset the then-seventh-ranked Huskies 102-63 in St. Cloud in January after losing 77-59 to MSM in Mankato.